The consumption of corned beef is associated with Saint Patrick's Day, when many Irish Americans eat a traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage. According to the History Channel, while cabbage is a traditional food item for Irish-Americans, corned beef is not consumed in Ireland - it was originally used as a substitute for bacon by Irish American immigrants in the late 1800s. Irish immigrants living in New York City's Lower East Side sought an equivalent in taste and texture to their traditional Irish bacon, and learned about this cheaper alternative to bacon from their Jewish neighbors. A similar dish is the New England boiled dinner, consisting of corned beef, cabbage, and root vegetables such as carrots, turnips, and potatoes, which is popular in New England and parts of Atlantic Canada.
As St. Patrick's Day occurs annually during Lent, the corned beef tradition caused controversy among American Catholic dioceses in 2000 and 2006, when the holiday fell on a Friday. Catholic custom dictates that no meat be consumed on any Friday, but some bishops granted dispensations to their dioceses for eating corned beef on St. Patrick's Day. This rare occurrence will next happen on Friday in 2017
[courtesy of Wikipedia]
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